Culture, Music

The most anticipated albums of 2020

For many people, New Year’s resolutions provide a sense of optimism as to what the new year will bring. Others find a source of hope in music, often fantasizing about the music masterpieces that will hit Spotify before the year’s end. I happen to be in the latter category. So, while I am sure that 2020 will bring masterpiece’s from many artists with which I have not yet been acquainted, here are some anticipated albums from artists I’m familiar with, albums that I can only hope to live up to the quality I am longing for.

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Photo credit: billboard.com

Frank Ocean

Any author writing an “Anticipated Albums” list would be lying if they said they have listened to any of Ocean’s projects and thought, “I don’t need anything else from this guy.” With the recent announcement that Frank is headlining Coachella and the release of his recent singles, my mind can do nothing else but explode with questions– Does this mean he is releasing music soon? Will he go deeper into the experimental route like he did for “Blonde,” or will he go back into a more traditional R&B lane with a project more similar “Channel Orange”? Or, does he completely change artistically and prove that Odd Future might be even more talented than we already know?

Jacob Leader, a freshman studying industrial engineering, thinks the latter scenario to be more likely, saying, “A third album would likely have a different style to the previous two, and it is intriguing to find out what that style is and how he uses it.”

Either way, whatever he releases will captivate millions of people and leave the internet in a state of shock. To be fair, Ocean could release a country album and we would all still listen.

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Kendrick Lamar

“If I could get another [album like] ‘To Pimp A Butterfly,’ my life would be complete,” said Asia Chester, a freshman majoring in biochemistry. Chester speaks for many of us faithful enough to believe Kendrick can continue to do the impossible and maintain quality.

“good kid, m.A.A.d city” and “To Pimp A Butterfly” are two of the best albums both inside and outside of rap, and with every project, his growth is undeniable. There is very little doubt in my mind that his next album will possess a certain level of quality and thoughtfulness that lives up to the title of “Best Rapper Out.” I simply do not see a world in which Kendrick rushes his creative process and puts out something he– and his fans– are not proud of. And because of that, I have no reason not to be excited for his next album.

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A$AP Rocky

Is A$AP Rocky a music star? Has his cultural influence and voice outgrown his musical footprint? A discussion sparked on Joe Budden’s podcast has led to a complete reanalysis of A$AP Rocky’s career. The fact that this discussion is happening puts strain on how people will look at Rocky moving forward. If people go into his next album release seeking answers to the aforementioned questions and draw the conclusion that they aren’t as engaged with Rocky musically as they are culturally, that may cause a shift in public opinion. Seeing as I am one of the people seeking those answers, I can’t help but feel anticipation. The feeling certainly is not universal though, as many are purely interested in new music.

Dane Sinks, a freshman studying economics, said, “I believe each one of his past albums have approached this psychedelic sound in different ways, which is what I love about his music. [He] has crafted his own niche within the music world, and I look forward to what direction he takes his sound next.” No matter your reason for interest, it is undeniable that this next album will be a defining moment in Rocky’s career.

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Don Toliver

Travis Scott’s prog-inspired trap production under a robotic, steel auto tuned vocals produced “Rodeo,” arguably his best album. Beautiful chords and guest vocals gave color and breaks to the monotony of the dark tones the album uses. But, what if the the primary vocalist behind that tonal change made an album of his own? A pipe dream of mine that is fulfillable by Don Toliver. As an artist on Scott’s label (Cactus Jack), Don caught his big break as a feature on “CAN’T SAY,” one of Astroworld’s best songs. His expressive voice provided life to an unforgiving instrumental, setting him apart on an album that featured big names such as Kid Cudi, Swae Lee and The Weeknd. With his recent performance on JACKBOYS, a small musical venture for Cactus Jack, I am even more excited for Toliver’s next release. His voice over trap production is rarely disappointing, and he is a name millions more will learn this year.

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Photo credit: npr.org


Saba

Chicago native Saba has been extremely proactive in the last two years. Releasing “CARE FOR ME” in 2018 to critical-acclaim, he continued to carry musical relevancy through 2019 without dropping another album. He managed to increase notoriety in other ways, including his feature on “Revenge of the Dreams III,” being a large part of music collective Pivot Gang’s new album and announcing newly formed trio Ghetto Sage (made up of Noname, Smino and Saba). Now, all we can do is wait for Saba to slam himself into a new realm of popularity. And don’t be surprised if he adds flair to the dunk, entering even more top 10 lists than he did in 2018.

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Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti

Drop “Eternal Atake and Whole Lotta Red” before the internet spontaneously combusts. Thanks.

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Tame Impala

Quite possibly one of the most interesting and consistent “bands” of the 2010s, Tame Impala has announced an album titled “The Slow Rush,” set to release Feb. 14. Kevin Parker writes, records, performs, produces and mixes all Tame Impala music and is only outdone in mystery by Frank Ocean. “I still think this album is completely unlistenable,” Parker told Pitchfork about his third studio album, “Currents.” His obsessive musical process consists of the man and the instrument– with slight substance use– and is only stopped when the record label tells him the release date is near. Every one of his albums allows listeners to peek through a keyhole as they try to make sense of the artist behind the grand music that flows through the seemingly small source. Anticipation is bound to arrive if you listened to all of his albums, and his dedication leaves zero doubt of quality.

January 19, 2020

Reporters

Curtiss Oakley


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